Donald Trump traveled to El Paso and Dayton on Wednesday, Aug. 7 in order to offer his condolences to the families of those killed or injured in two separate mass shootings which occurred last weekend in the two ethnically-diverse cities, leaving scores of injured residents and 31 dead (collectively) as this story went to press.
However, with Trump laying the cause of these and other heinous mass shootings on mental health issues from which gunmen allegedly suffer, rather than leading the way to close loopholes that allow easy access to weapons capable of swift, mass destruction, a groundswell of Americans have expressed their dismay and discontent with the president.
Even President Barack Obama, who has been mostly quiet after Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, urged Americans in a statement to reject language that “feeds a climate of fear” – comments to which Trump has since, not surprisingly, responded via his favorite outlet, Twitter.
Obama denounced language from “leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”
Such language, the former president said, “has no place in our politics and our public life,” adding, “it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.”
Meanwhile, as the president made efforts to clarify his view as shared on Monday, Aug. 5 during his televised and now highly-criticized press conference, many residents in both El Paso and Dayton participated in protests, angry over Trump’s continued use of vitriolic words that many believe have opened the floodgates for white supremacists and their own bigoted ideology. Both shooters in last weekend’s massacres reportedly resonated with white supremacist notions.
And while Trump did suggest on Wednesday, Aug. 7 that current policies related to background checks should be ramped up in short order, he failed to agree to push for more stringent gun control, saying “it doesn’t appear to be something that’s within the political will.”
During a tearful testimony, the father of one El Paso shooting victim, a young, Black woman who remains hospitalized and in critical condition after being shot three times, said Trump’s visit would lead to nothing of consequence.
“I’m a military veteran, a pastor and a proud American,” the Rev. Michael Grady said during a radio interview on Sirius XM channel 126 on Tuesday. “My daughter Michelle was just out shopping at Walmart when the gunman began to shoot into the group of shoppers. I have never in my life done anything but supported and maintained respect for the president of the United States – whether our Commander-in-Chief was a Democrat or a Republican. That has now changed.”
“I’ve worked on behalf of El Paso’s mostly Hispanic community and fostered positive encounters and mutual outreach efforts between Blacks and Mexican-Americans. And we’ve been living our lives together peacefully.
“Donald Trump must admit responsibility for the kind of hateful atmosphere that he’s created and allowed to fester. The results are obvious.”